6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

First Look: The Sony Handycam HDR-CX220 is cheap, small, and lightweight

About Video Transcript

First Look: The Sony Handycam HDR-CX220 is cheap, small, and lightweight

2:36 /

The only thing the Sony Handycam HDR-CX220 seems to have going for it is the low price, but "you get what you pay for" has never rung truer.

The biggest attraction of Sony's low-end Handycam HDR-CX220 is its $199 or so price point. But even that seems too much for the mediocre video quality, occasionally confusing interface, and frill-free features that you get for the money. On the plus side, the camcorder is relatively small and light. It's got a built-in lens cover and a built-in USB cable that you use for charging. It doesn't ship with the charger that you plug in to the outlet, but it works with most phone chargers, as well as plugging in to your laptop. You can also-- if you don't wanna spend $20 for Sony's charger, you can buy one for between $5 and $10 online. The camcorder's one advantage over, say, a camera phone or camera is its 27x zoom lens. The 32x refers to extended zoom, which requires that you turn off active steady shot. And this camcorder uses electronic image stabilization, not optical. Other mythical numbers include the claim of 8.9 megapixels for still photo resolution. The sensor actually outputs 2.3 megapixel images, which are interpolated up. You're probably better off with your cell phone for stills. The real problem with the CX220 is the video quality. It's pretty mediocre with poor tonal range, mushy edges, and incorrect oversaturated colors. And that's only if you change the default settings. Out of the box, the camcorder defaults to sub HD quality low-bit rate video-- you know, the type of video we saw five years ago. It's terrible. And the interface can also be confusing for changing that default because it automatically jumps to the Cancel icon rather than Okay. And they're in opposite ends of the screen. Plus, it repeatedly pops up warnings when you try to change it. And the joystick feels jumpy for moving around the screen, and the screen is pretty coarse and displays completely different colors than those in the recorded video. The CX220 is essentially the same model with respect to video quality as the CX230s, CX290, and PJ230. They all have the same sensor and lens, though they have different features. Ultimately, with all of them, you end up paying more money for the same poor quality video. I wish I could say that $200 buys you a great camcorder deal, but it really doesn't. I'm Lori Grunin, and this is the Sony Handycam HDR-CX220.

New releases

Tomorrow Daily 092: Mistletoe drones, Europa in HD, real-life bacon meme, and more
24:11 November 25, 2014
On today's show, we debate the usefulness of drones inside restaurants (especially drones carrying mistletoe), check out Europa in...
Play video
Amazon Echo: a wireless speaker you can talk to
3:11 November 25, 2014
We go hands-on with Amazon's new Echo smart speaker and its Alexa voice assistant, who might just be Siri's better-sounding twin s...
Play video
2015 Mercedes Benz C400 4MATIC
4:58 November 25, 2014
The C Class is all-new and it's time to stop looking down your nose.
Play video
Can anything save Google Glass?
3:16 November 25, 2014
Google's first wearable platform has lost its edge with users and developers. You won't have a Cartier Android watch anytime soon,...
Play video
Alienware Alpha bridges the PC/console gaming divide
2:38 November 25, 2014
This gaming desktop looks and acts like a living room console, but plays your PC game library.
Play video
How Apple Pay and PayPal can help shoppers avoid hacks
1:37 November 25, 2014
What's the best way to protect yourself when shopping online? CNET's Sumi Das explains how to keep your credit card details away from...
Play video
The 404 Show 1,586: Giving thanks to tech, Jurassic World, BlackBerry Hail Mary (podcast)
35:21 November 25, 2014
It's our last show before Thanksgiving and the guys are discuss what tech they're thankful for.
Play video
Conquer Black Friday by shopping online
2:55 November 25, 2014
There's no shame in staying home when online deals are aplenty on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Bridget Carey highlights trends in...
Play video